Bobby Valentine spoke at Salem State University last night as part of a speaker’s series. Peter Gammons was the moderator and audience questions were taken. Some highlights from CSNNewEngland.com:
- The front office wanted “a quieter, calmer” version of Bobby Valentine during the season, so he was told to tone down his usually effusive comments to the press;
- He’s happy about his future and thinks it is bright. “I have a million plans, running around the country, trying to make my life worthwhile,” he said. Most immediate plan: “In December, he will rappel down the side of the tallest building in his hometown of Stamford, Conn., as a charitable fundraiser. He will be dressed as an elf.” Brian Cashman has done this several times, actually. It’s for a good cause.
- He doesn’t think the 2012 Red Sox should be defined by their record and believes that “the team is going to be better because of all the nonsense this year.”
- Takes a swipe at Kelly Shoppach, who he said was always begging for playing time and the front office, whose attitude and leaks he criticizes, and Daniel Bard. Also, when asked by an audience member what it was like to watch Daniel Bard “slowly implode,” Valentine said “you you thought that was slow?”
Someone should probably hire him now. Not my team or the team of anyone I care about, but someone.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.